Download: Beans’ Latest Avant-Rap Fashion Statement, “Deathsweater”


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A shrapnel bomb of ill-angled words and sputtering electronic bloops, Beans has been the most visible member of longstanding NYC avant-rap crew Antipop Consortium. He says his confessional 2007 album Thorns was “draining emotionally” and once figured to be his last. But his fourth album, End It All (due February 15), is a collection of firsts — his debut for avant-rap homebase Anticon, and his maiden attempt at collaborating exclusively with outside producers, a move that also makes the album his most diverse to date. The guest list is long (Four Tet, Tortoise rhythm crew Bumps, Black Moth Super Rainbow’s Tobacco, IDM seizure specialist Clark), which creates a wild and eclectic ride through skittering beats, lush Dillawave, rattling glitch, and one lurching punk-swing banger featuring TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe. First taste “Deathsweater” is a click-clacking track that comes courtesy of Los Angeles producer Nobody, sounding like a demented, sproinging version of the Al Green “I’m Glad Your Mine” break (cf., Eric B. and Rakim’s “Mahogany” and East Flatbush Project’s “Tried by 12”). Beans motormouths in his usually daunting style — “guard your grill and take a chill pill, daffodil” — while Nobody stays equally as busy. Says Beans himself, “I really like the album! It’s the best one until the next one!”

Q&A: Beans on “Deathsweater”

What is “Deathsweater” about?
You know the old saying “dressed to kill”? That’s where the idea came from. I usually don’t rhyme about clothes and my appearance in my songs, but I feel that I have a particular style that works for me, so I decided to write a song about it. I just personified the idea of looking fresh and deadly in the object of a sweater, hence the title.

When did you and Nobody originally meet?
We met when APC first toured the West Coast for The Tragic Epilogue back in 2000, I think. He was our tour guide for Cali, and I met him at the train station. He always had a good ear and knew a ton about records, so he was always putting me on to new music all the time . . . Man, I’m old. That was a long time ago, but we didn’t really get to know each other well until we both toured with Prefuse 73. I’ve been all over the world with dude, from Seattle to Barcelona to Canada to Japan. Elvin is my dude. My friend’s wife almost named a cat after him when she met him in Barcelona. He’s got a big personality as well as being very funny. A true original!

What was your first impression of this beat?
I liked the fact it was so uptempo and groovy and a great progression from the beats done for Thorns. I came up with the chorus real quickly, like two girlfriends ago. I knew it had to be catchy because she liked it at the time. I would sing it around the house in my underwear washing the dishes, and she’d be like, “What the hell is that? I can’t get it out of my head!” The title came from the track as soon as I heard the beat, but I still don’t know why it took me over a year to write. Go figure.

We asked this the last time you were in this column, but we’d love an update: What were your favorite and least favorite things about hip-hop in 2010?
It’s all right. I hate the subject matter the most and the N-word. Hip-hop is so conservative and limited in what it chooses to express. I like Eminem’s vulnerability. Kanye is good. There’s things that I’m looking forward to hearing this year like the new Ghostface. In terms of young cats, I like Cory Gunz, CurT@!n$, Blu, Truck North, and Odd Future. Nicki Minaj can get it! She can rhyme! Looking forward to the new Madvillian as well. Overall, it’s been worse.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 4, 2011

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